Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ★★★★★

I cannot believe this film exists. I was just left in awe of the visual mastery this film had. How it fully committed to building out a grand multiverse and infusing such creativity and meticulous detail into each world. How those worlds often served so well to either reflect or embody the emotions and inner turmoil of a given Spider-Person to say nothing of them just being wondrous to behold in their own right. I know animated films are all going for their own unique aspirations and can be impressive in a million different ways, but what these artists achieved with this film needs to recognized and appreciated because it was at times almost beyond words.

But this film is far, far more than its impeccable visual design. These filmmakers and writers really were able to hone in on the possibility of the multiverse to truly confront characters on who they want to be, who they can become, both for good and for ill. Every shade from light to dark is there for them to play with. It also serves so well in examining the weight of the consequences of trying to do everything and how two cakes can never solve the conundrum of Having Your Cake And Eating It Too. Spot serves as such a perfect villainous inverse of Miles and the destructive consequences of having the need to extend anywhere and everywhere and how those consequences are not always known to us. Also, just such a smart way to play with the concept of "tiered" villains.

However, the far more impactful ways in which they engage with Spider-Man and comics in general are with what they do with Miles. These writers found something truly special as they dug down deep and interrogated what Spider-Man as a concept itself means. Especially in how they went right to the very structure of the Spider-Man story itself and questions the imposition of it and has such a deep spirit in aligning with fighting the fight because it is right, against just because that is how it is supposed to be. Really, it is a challenge to the audience to make us interrogate why we impose certain expectations on how these narratives are to play out and how that often is a great hindrance to deeper forms of storytelling. How being so beholden to Order and the Canon rob us of different ways of approaching characters, of adding a deeper layer of meaning to their thematic resonance. Just phenomenal stuff.

One of the far more interesting things this film tackles is the seemingly self-imposed loneliness of Spider-Man characters. Again, seeing how Miles works through these dynamics is so well done because he has a fuller family than most to be able to return to and the inter-family dynamics at a play were just so rich and vibrant in this film. But what they do with Gwen specifically on this front and I found to be the most surprising. Her character went in so many different directions I could never anticipate and seeing her combat her own forms of imposed isolation and interrogating the community she chose and its values was just excellent.

Oh, and of course, this film is absolutely hilarious playing on so many Spidey deep cuts, but also just utterly brilliant visual comedy gags and the sometimes just Absurd worlds they go to. Honestly iconic. There are just so many twists and turns and jaw dropping surprises and just to reiterate what everyone else is seemingly saying about it: yes, this is definitely one of the films of the year and something that absolutely needs to be seen on the big screen just to soak up every ounce of wonderful storytelling put on display. Simply, amazing!

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